The award ceremony of the first Russian Art Focus Prize took place on the 3d of September in Vienna at viennacontemporary art fair and the laureates in two nomination were announced. Theo Merz - the winner in the nomination "Publication on Russian contemporary art"
for the text "A tribute to the Russian avant-garde sets off a storm"
published in The Economist in 2019. Agitatsia research group - the winner in the nomination "Research paper on Russian contemporary art"
for the text "Party of the Dead: Necroaesthetics and Transformation of Political Performativity in Russia during the Pandemic"
published in ArtMargins.com in 2021.
Theo Merz is a British journalist who has worked in Russia for the last four years, reporting for outlets including Agence France-Presse, The Economist, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times, and VICE. As well as covering politics, diplomacy, healthcare, the climate, and LGBTQ issues, many of his stories have focused on the arts, in particular the persecution of cultural figures by the state. Theo previously worked as a journalist in London and Hong Kong. He recently returned to the U.K. to take up the position of deputy foreign editor at The Telegraph.
Agitatsia (Agitation) group is a research community dedicated to political performance art practices, actionism and art activism, which has been collaborating since July 2020. Its members are: Dasha Filippova (Tallinn/NYC) – artist-scholar, Pavel Mitenko (Moscow, Russia) – philosopher, performer and researcher, Anastasiia Spirenkova (Paris, France) – researcher, curator and producer, Antonina Stebur (Minsk, Belarus) – independent curator, Vera Zamyslova (Moscow, Russia) – researcher and art historian.
The Russian Art Focus Prize organized trips to Vienna for the winners - Theo Merz came from London and Anastasiia Spirenkova representing Agitatsia group came from Paris. Founders of Russian Art Focus Prize Inna Bazhenova and Dmitry Aksenov awarded them with the diplomas and certificates for 3000 Euros each.
Russian Art Focus Prize would like to give special mention to Ksenya Gurshteyn's Research paper "Yuri Albert: Always Getting It Wrong" and Andrew Freeburg's publication "Institutional Memory: Stepping Inside DAU's Documented Fiction" which received significantly high marks from the jury.
Open call for the second Russian Art Focus Prize will start in the beginning of 2022 at www.rafprize.com
, the award ceremony is planned to be held at Venice biennale of contemporary art.